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White Sox Draft History: Rounds 21-25

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Beyond the Pope, there hasn’t been much draft gold to be found in the early 20s

Papacy power: Donn Pall was a solid reliever for the Sox in the early 90’s.
Otto Gruel Jr /Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox have a checkered history with the MLB draft since it initiated in 1965. While there have been some terrific selections (notably Frank Thomas, Harold Baines and Chris Sale), there have been many more disappointments.

This is the fourth of an eight-part series which will detail the best White Sox selections in each of the first 40 rounds of the draft. There have been several White Sox picks who went unsigned, but made it big after being drafted in later years by other teams (Jimmy Key comes immediately to mind), but I’m simply looking at players who actually signed with the White Sox. Very few picks of recent vintage will make this list, as they’re still trying to add to their careers. In football and basketball, a clear picture of how successful a draft is can be determined within three years; in baseball, it’s closer to five.

Without further ado, here are the most successful selections in the 21st-25th rounds.


Round 21

Best Draftee
Paul Edmondson
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
1965
Cal State-Northridge

Edmondson was selected in MLB’s first draft in 1965, and to this day, he still ranks as the most productive major leaguer ever drafted in the 21st round by the White Sox. His numbers in his rookie year in 1969 were far better than his 1-6 record indicated: In 14 games, he pitched 87 23 innings with a 3.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 46 strikeouts, and 1.6 bWAR. Many of his results were José Quintana-ish: nine innings with zero earned runs (ND) on 9/13 vs. the Oakland A’s, 9 13 innings with one earned run (ND) on 9/6 vs. the Angels, eight innings with one earned run (ND) on 9/25 vs. Kansas City, seven innings with one earned run (L) vs. the Royals on 7/8, 6 23 innings with one earned run (ND) vs. California on 7/4, etc. Unfortunately, tragedy struck on Feb. 13, 1970, when his car skidded on a wet California highway, killing him and his passenger just a day after his 27th birthday and two weeks before spring training.

Runner-Up
Jack Hardy
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
1981
St. Thomas University

After spending parts of nine seasons in the minors in such locales as Gulf Coast, Glens Falls, Edmonton, Buffalo, Birmingham, Hawaii and Vancouver, Hardy finally made it to the bigs in 1989. It’s not like he had many difficult years, as his career minor league numbers of 3.33 ERA and 1.21 WHIP were actually eclipsed by his Triple-A numbers. Unfortunately, late draft picks often get passed up for promotions to make room for higher-ceiling guys. Sadly for Hardy, he struggled in his five relief outings in 1989 with a 6.57 ERA and 1.54 WHIP, as he allowed 14 hits and five walks while fanning just four hitters over 12 13 innings — culminating in a career bWAR of -0.1. However, that’s enough to earn him the No. 2 ranking of all White Sox signed 21st rounders.

Shortstop Harry Chappas (1975) was unsigned as a 21st round pick, but did play in the majors after signing with the White Sox in 1976 as a sixth round pick. First baseman Chris Nyman (1973) was also unsigned as a 21st round pick, but later played for the White Sox after signing as an amateur free agent in 1977. Pitcher Ed Olwine (1976) was unsigned as a 21st round pick, but played in the MLB elsewhere after signing as an amateur free agent in 1980 with the New York Yankees. Pitchers Nick Johnson (2018) and John Parke (2017) are the only signed White Sox 21st rounders currently playing in organized baseball.


Round 22

Best Draftee
Kanekoa Texeira
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
2006
Saddleback College

Texeira, a Hawaiian native, enjoyed a nice three-year run in the White Sox system. Split between Bristol and Kannapolis, he compiled a 1.52 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 2006 while walking six and striking out 31 in just more than 29 innings. He returned to Kannapolis the following year and posted a respectable but less sensational 3.69 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while surrendering 22 walks and fanning 58 in 53 23 innings. In 2008 for Winston-Salem and Birmingham, Texeira posted a nifty 1.33 ERA and 1.10 WHIP while again striking out a batter per inning. After the season, he was traded along with Nick Swisher to the Yankees for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez. Ultimately, he spent parts of two seasons (2010-11) with the Seattle Mariners and Royals, compiling a 1-1 record, 4.66 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, and 0.2 bWAR as his walk rate soared and whiff rate sank in the majors. Texeira currently merits the No. 1 spot here, however, as he’s the only signed 22nd rounder who’s made it to the majors to date.

Runner-Up
Christian Marrero
Outfielder
2005
Broward Community College

Marrero actually spent parts of 12 seasons in the minors in the White Sox, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies organizations. During those seasons, he compiled some decent stats, slashing .276/.371/.439 during that time, with 107 career homers. His best season in the Sox system (which ran from 2006-11) was in 2009 split between Winston-Salem and Birmingham, where he slashed .308/.348/.501 with 18 homers and 74 RBIs. Marerro’s two Triple-A seasons were spent in the Braves and Phillies systems, where he slashed just .245/.357/.402 in a combined 388 at-bats.

Pitcher Greg Garrett (1966) was unsigned as a 22nd round pick, and enjoyed a major league career after being drafted later by another club. Outfielder Joel Booker (2016) and infielder Danny Mendick (2015) are the only signed White Sox 22nd rounders who are still playing in organized baseball. Both Mendick and Booker have chances to become the all-time best 22nd round selections for the White Sox, with both currently knocking on the door to the majors.


Round 23

Best Draftee
Donn Pall
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
1985
University of Illinois

Donn Pall, often dubbed “The Pope,” had a pretty decent major league career despite not having the greatest stuff. On the heels of a 13-1 season with the Fightin’ Illini, he was drafted in the 23rd round. He rapidly worked his way through the White Sox system, and when he posted a 2.23 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 44 outings for high-altitude Vancouver in 1988, the Pope earned his call-up. For Pall, his call-up was never truly a baptism by fire since he fared respectably for the 1988-93 seasons, although he did have a hiccup in 1992 when his numbers regressed. His best year for the Sox was 1991 when he was 7-2 in 71 innings, as he posted a 2.41 ERA and 1.11 WHIP by relinquishing just 59 hits and 20 walks while fanning 40. Pall was traded in September 1993 to the Phillies for a player to be named later, which turned out to be Doug Lindsey. In addition to the Phillies, Pall later pitched for the Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins. Over the course of his 10-year major league career, Pall posted a 22-21 record with 10 saves, 3.63 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 139 walks, 278 strikeouts and a 4.1 bWAR in 505 13 innings.

Runner-Up
Mike Marjama
Catcher
2011
Long Beach State University

Mike Marjama, upon being drafted from Long Beach State, gradually worked his way up the White Sox system, reaching as high as Winston-Salem in 2014 where he slashed .266/.292/.383 in 70 games for the Dash. He was then sold to the Tampa Bay Rays in January 2015, and eventually was traded to Seattle. Marjama enjoyed a couple cups of coffee with the Mariners in 2017 and 2018, where he combined to slash just .167/.211/.361 in 36 total at-bats, with one dinger. He retired from the game last July, but not before posting a career 0.1 bWAR.

Pitcher Bobby LaFromboise (2005) spent time in the majors, but only after signing with the Mariners in 2008. The only signed White Sox 23rd rounder currently in organized baseball is pitcher Lane Ramsey (2018).

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Round 24

Best Draftee
Greg Perschke
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
1989
University of New Orleans

Perschke, of all signed 24th rounders, advanced the farthest by reaching Triple-A in four different organizations (White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cubs and Cleveland) during his eight-year minor league career. Although the majority of his games were spent in relief, Perschke’s greatest success at the Triple-A level occurred as a starter with Vancouver in 1992, when he posted a 12-7 record with a respectable 3.76 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Unfortunately for Perschke, that was the pinnacle of his Triple-A success. His 4.83 ERA and 1.34 WHIP were the career Triple-A averages for this soft tosser, although he did have good success at the Double-A level with a sound 2.09 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.

Runner-Up
Kurt Walker
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
1983
Fresno State University

Walker spent the first four of his six minor league seasons in the White Sox system, reaching Double-A during the 1985-86 seasons. His best season was with Appleton in 1984, which was the Sox Single-A squad at the time. That year, he posted a 9-1 record in 46 games with a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP as he relinquished just 68 hits and 32 walks while fanning 106 in 91 23 innings. After struggling with Birmingham in 1986, Walker was released, but went on to pitch for the Minnesota Twins and Angels—ultimately reaching Triple-A for the Angels in 1988 but struggling in nine outings there, with a 4.41 ERA and 1.53 WHIP.

Pitchers Dean Crow (1991) and Adam Bernero (1994), along with outfielder Jim Lentine (1972), were unsigned by the White Sox but played in the majors after being drafted later by other organizations. Pitchers Rigo Fernandez (2018) and Vince Arobio (2017) are the only other signed White Sox 24th round picks still playing in organized baseball.


Round 25

Best Draftee
Chris Devenski
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
2011
Cal State-Fullerton

It’s hard to remember when Chris Devenski was a White Sox farmhand. It’s even harder to remember that he was traded to the Houston Astros as the infamous player-to-be-named later, along with Matt Heidenreich and Blair Walters for pitcher Brett Myers during the 2012 season. To be fair, Devenski was a 25th round spot-starter who was struggling in Kannapolis at the time, with a 4.25 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. In the Astros system, Devenski blossomed and is now in his fourth year with the big club. His career numbers include a 2.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 27.8 K%, 4.9 bWAR and a World Series victory. Devenski’s best year to date was his rookie campaign in 2016, when he posted a 2.16 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over 108 13 innings as he surrendered just 79 hits and 20 walks while fanning 104.

Runner-Up
Charlie Haeger
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
2001
Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.) H.S.

Charlie Haeger was one of the most recent knuckleballers to pitch in the majors, spending parts of five major league seasons with the White Sox, San Diego Padres and Dodgers. Unfortunately, unlike Tim Wakefield, Charlie Hough or the Niekro brothers, Haeger’s career wasn’t able to gain much traction. He actually held his own when he earned his call-up to the White Sox in 2006, as he posted a respectable 3.44 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 18 13 innings. However, his return to the majors the following year was an ordeal, suffering through a 7.15 ERA and 2.21 WHIP over just 11 13 innings as he relinquished 17 hits and eight walks while only fanning one hitter. After struggling with Charlotte in 2008, the Padres claimed him off of waivers. For his career spanning 34 games and 83 innings, Haeger compiled a 6.40 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 69 strikeouts, and a -1.4 bWAR.

Pitcher Jay Marshall (2002) also played in the majors, but pitched for the A’s who claimed him in the 2006 Rule 5 draft; his career bWAR was -1.6. Taylor Thompson (2008) actually reached the majors with the White Sox in 2014, but that was after being re-drafted in the 44th round in 2009. In addition to the aforementioned Devenski, the only other signed White Sox 25th round pick still playing in organized baseball is pitcher Jack Maynard (2018).